Monday, November 2, 2015
Hola todos! This week has been good... hard but good. I feel super inadequate with the language but I know that it will come over time. I just need to keep working. We have seen some miracles this week. First off the last 2 Mondays we have visited members just out of promptings and being in the area and both times we have found new investigators in their houses! It is so crazy. One is the grandson of a member... his name is Juan Jose and the other is the grandpa of a recent convert and with this man he never comes out when we visit but he did yesterday. And he watched a video about the Restoration with us and he had lots of questions and comments and he commited to a baptism date! We hope that we will have atleast one baptism this week. We have an investigator named Carlos who is so ready and I know that he knows it is true but he is so hesitant to get baptized so hopefully this week it will happen! Just got to have faith and pray right? But yeah it has been so cool to see these things happen and to experience changes in peoples lives... Hopefully we can continue to find success and find lots more people to teach that are ready. This last week it has been hot here.... I feel like I am always sweating and I am so thankful that I am not in the Coast because it is so much warmer there... But apparently we are heading into the cold season here so we shall see. Fun fact about people in Guatemala... lots of people already have their Christmas trees up! And we think that anything before Thanksgiving is early.... but they do not have Thanksgiving here so its a little different. But it cracks me up and Hermana Wong is already singing Christmas hymns all the time so that is funny to me too. This Sunday is day of the dead here in Guatemala so it will be different to see what exactly they do for that holiday and to see if we can find and teach people... The food here is really good but I really can not eat big portions here... most meals consist of tortillas, beans and or rice, some kind of vegetable, and usually meat... mostly chicken because we are not really allowed to eat anything else. So its so funny because every meal I always have to ask for a little but Hermana Wong eats a lot so the members are always worried about me not eating enough but I really can not eat much. My ponderizing scripture for this week is 2 Nephi 25:26. And it reminds me a lot that all things we do should point to Christ and that on the mission we are doing his work and always always talking about Him and we need to center our lives in Him. So that is my focus for the week. Other then that I do not really have much more to say... Thank you for all your prayers and emails! Con amor, Hermana Stewart
Hola todos!!!! The last 2 weeks have been a little crazy. It is so hard to believe that I have already been in my first area for a whole week! My area is called Petapas and the people here are amazing. The people of Guatemala are so ready to hear the gospel and its crazy because we will just be street contacting and invite people to church and they always say yes. We have found lots of new investigadors (our mission has a goal of 16 per companionship every week) so that has been awesome and we will see where they all go. Spanish is super hard... I understand most lessons because I thats what we learned in the CCM but I no absolutley zero conversational Spanish so it is really hard to be able to get to know people. Also the people here speak really fast so it is hard to be able to follow since I do not know everything. My trainer aka my mom is Hermana Wong. She is from Costa Rica and she knows a lot of English which is so helpful for me to be able to ask her in English when I do not understand something. Presidente and Hermana Markham (our mission president and his wife) are amazing. I love them so much already and I know that they are called of God. Our mission is a no fear mission which means that we literally do all things to bring people unto Christ... and that includes bus contacting. That is quite the experiences standing up in front of a bus full of people and yelling a message and then going around and talking to them to get address to share messages another day. I understand almost nothing that they say to me so that is really hard but it is good. And I never would have imagined myself doing something like that before the mission. But as President Markham says contacting is a game. So we just have to play the game and talk to all people. Our district only has 4 people in it (2 companionships) and it is super funny because one of them is Elder Maw who was in my district in the CCM. I absolutely love it here. Yesterday it rained all day... and I mean all day... it never stopped so that was interesting... But it was super good. And it makes me so thankful for sun shine. The members here in Petapa are amazing. The ward missionaries or a member go out with us almost every single day and it has been so good to see them so involved in the work. Fun fact about Guatemala... all houses here have tile. So on Saturday we were doing service for a convert who is moving and we helped clean his house and what we did was we threw bleach and cleaner all over the floor and then dumped water everywhere and then swept all the water out of the house. It was super weird but also super fun... The food here is really good but people feed us HUGE portions and it is really hard for me to eat all of it but we have to otherwise people will get offended so that has been an adventure for me... All is going so well right now and I am so happy. I love you all and am so grateful for all of your prayers. I am truly in the work of the Lord and I am so happy. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and love us more then we can ever imagine. I know that this Gospel is true with all of my heart and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and this Gospel is the way back to our Heavenly Father. I am so thankful for this knowledge in my life and I will be eternally grateful to all of those who have gone before me and done so much because they know that this gospel is true. Heavenly Father lives and loves us and he watches over us in all things. I can absolutely testify of that. Hope you all have an amazing week!!! Les amo mucho!!! Hermana Stewart
We have made it to presidentes house. And tomorrow we will meet our trainers!!! I am so excited!!! This week is going to be tough but I am so ready to see all that will happen!!! Hope you all have an amazing week. Love you all! And I will write again next Tuesday! Con amor, Hermana Stewart
Thursday, October 8, 2015
So in just one short week we will be heading our for the mission field! Seems so crazy but I am beyond excited about it!!! Because of leaving next week I may or may not actually write so don't panic if you don't hear anything from me next week. Conference this week was amazing!! I loved hearing from the prophets and apostles and just learning everything. The new apostles are amazing! I loved that 2 of them said that the gospel is proclaimed by the weak and simple because that is definitely me here. And I loved in Women's conference when Elder Uchtdorf said that "faith can turn your entire life around. Faith leads to hope and faith and hope give confidence that one day all will turn out how it is supposed to." That just really hit home to me. And night we watched a devotional with Elder Holland and then had a devotional with Presidente Cox about it and it made me so excited to be heading out into the field next week. One of the things I loved from Elder Holland was that he said "Don't you dare turn tail and run, don't you dare abondon Him, Don't you dare run even when it is hard stand and defend and be true and let the Lord count on you. Don't you dare go home with a regret" It was just so powerful to hear and to just rededicate myself to the work and to make sure that I truly do everything that I can in the next year and a half to bring others unto Christ. And some of the things I loved from Presidente Cox were "There is no turning back! Never EVER turn back the Lord will not turn on us. Going home is not an option we came to finish. And you quit now you quit forever." They were all just so powerful and I know that there is so much more for me to do to be the best missionary possible and I am trying to be that with all my heart.
So fun fact for the week... I learned some Kekchi yesterday. Kekchi is a Guatemalan language that is spoken here in Guatemala... mostly in the Cobon mission. So we learned yes which is eehe' and no which is inka'. And this language is so hard to understand and speak... but it is so cool to here. There are 7 elders here in the CCM that are learning Kekchi and they have to be here for 8 week which is crazy!!! I would not want to be here for that long!
So I totally forgot about our experience last week and I totally would have forgotten about it if people hadn't asked me about it. But it was a super cool experience. We got to go into a market and it was super weird but also really cool to be out among people and the culture. I am definitely going to have a little bit of a culture shock next week but it will be good. And we did place a Book of Mormon to a mother and daughter and it was cool. The daughter wasn't really intrested so we didn't get any more information from them to send missionaries to them. But when we were leaving the mother hugged us and said that she hopes that wouldn't be the last time she saw us in this life so that was super interesting. But I am so excited for next week to be out among the people and to really be able to help them!!! Thats all for this week! Hope that all is going well with everyone! I love reading about how everyone is doing and what all is happening! Thank you so much for your prayers!!!
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
So this week was a difficult week. Just lots of stuff happened that made it hard. First off I had a cold for a good portion of the week so that wasn´t fun. And speaking Spanish is really fun when you are sick and congested. Second Hermana Traveller's grandpa died this week. And we found out by Presidente Cox pulling her out of class and then he came back in and grabbed me and the second that I saw her I knew that something was wrong. But let me tell you Hermana Traveller is amazing. She got to talk to her family for a few minutes and after that she was just like we need to go back to work because I just can't sit around and do nothing and it was amazing. I was so astounded by her faith to continue forward. And since then we have grown so much as a companionship. We have really started to find our groove teaching. It's so crazy that we have grown so much together in the last month. it's amazing to see how we have grown so much in our Spanish and in our faith. And truly this mission is changing my life. I have never felt so close to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and I have never relied on the Atonement more. Each day we teach I learn more about the doctrine and it's reality. The gospel truly has the power to change lives for the better. It gives us hope in a better tomorrow and a knowledge that with God all things are possible. I am so glad for my knowledge that families can be together forever because I know that no matter what happens while I am on my mission or in this life that I can be with my family forever. I absolutely love the saying "missionary. Someone who leaves their family for a little while so others can be with theirs forever." That's what I am doing as a missionary and it is truly an amazing work.
This week Elder Kevin R Duncan, our are Seventy came to the CCM and gave a devotional about faith and it was awesome. It really has made me focus a lot on being exactly obedient to everything. Because exact obedience brings exact blessings. And boy do I need blessings. And it has been so good to focus on that because it is going to be vital to having success in the mission field.
I am so excited for today because we get to leave the CCM for a while and go into downtown Guatemala. And while we are there we will have the opprotunity to do some shopping and to place a Book of Mormon! I think that it will be such a unique and amazing experience and I am so excited.
Thank you for all your support, love, and prayers. I am so happy here and I know that I am on the Lord's errand.
PS. We got to watch Elder Scott's funeral yesterday and it was truly amazing. I felt the Spirit so strong and I truly know that he was an apostle of the Lord.
PPS. Conference is this weekend!!! I am so stoked to be able to hear from the prophet and apostles and other church leaders. I've heard that being in the MTC for conference is a once in a life time experience and I am so excited!!!
Have an amazing week!!!
Monday, September 28, 2015
This week has been another amazing week and I have felt like I have grown so much. Its been a bit of a rollercoaster in our district but it has been good because not only has it brought us all closer together but it has also allowed us to learn a lot about the Atonement. One of the Elders in our district went home this morning and it was really hard because he was so amazing. He just has some things that he needs to sort through before he is able to completely and fully serve the Lord but in the 3 weeks that we all knew him he influenced each and everyone of our lives for the better. He helped us all to be more focused on the work and the joy that we are bringing into peoples lives. And in a few months when he is able to come back out he is going to be amazing.
Yesterday Hermana Traveller and I had our best lesson yet with our investigator Cindel. The Spirit was so so so strong and we both felt as if we were really speaking with the Gift of Tongues because there were things that we said in that lesson that neither one of us remember or could have said on our own. And it was amazing. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and how it allows us to return to live with our Father in Heaven again. And it just led in so perfectly to us inviting her to be baptized and she said yes!!! It made me so happy. And its so crazy because Cindel is not actually a real investigator, she is a fake investigator played by our teacher to allow us to learn how to teach. But those lessons they feel so real. And it makes me so excited to be able to go out into the field and teach real people the gospel and to just watch it change their lives. They say that the first convert that you need to have on the mission is yourself and I can see myself becoming converted to the gospel in every single way possible. In just 3 weeks I have learned more about my Savior and the Gospel and Heavenly Fathers plan for me then I ever thought was possible and each day it amazes me. In this last week Hermana Traveller and I had a really rough day and I don't really remember all that happened but we were just really struggling and we decided to say a companionship prayer and we just knelt down and we plead with Heavenly Father to help us and it was so amazing because we were both just sobbing when I finished but we both felt so comforted. And we just rededicated ourselves to the work and we have truly been seeing the Lord's hand in our lives. That is why this Gospel is so amazing because when we have hard days we can rely on the Lord and He helps us through it all. It truly has amazed me. And it reminds me of a scripture that I read yesterday. It´s in the Book of Mormon in Alma 26:12 and it says:
"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."
I absolutely love that scripture because without God I am nothing but through the Gospel and through the Atonement I am able to do all things. And that scripture perfectly describes why I decided to come on a mission because Heavenly Father has given me everything and now for the next 18 months of my life I get to give something back. I get to bring others unto this Gospel to allow them to experience the exceeding joy and hope that it gives us.
Another crazy thing that happened this week is we have hit our half way point in the CCM! It seems like just yesterday that we got here and it is so crazy to see time just flying by. The new group of missionaries came in this week and they are all so amazing! It has been so fun to get to know them and to try and help them in every way possible.
I don't really have much more to say. This is truly an amazing experience and I have really never been so happy in my life. Even when it does get hard I am still so happy. We are learning to humble ourselves to the will of the Lord and to rely on Him in all things and it is truly an amazing thing. This gospel has the power and ability to changes lives. I have already seen it in my live and in the lives of those around me in the CCM. I love you all so much and I am so thankful for all the prayers that are said in my behalf.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
15 September 2015
This week went by so fast but it has really been so amazing. Learning Spanish so hard and we struggle so much but just yesterday I realized that these past 2 weeks have probably been the happiest 2 weeks of my life. I would literally not trade it for anything. It is so amazing.
We had a couple more lessons this week and we have been really struggling to get our points across in our broken Spanish but it has been super good. We taugh a menos activo (less active) and we ended up having a 30 minute lesson with her about faith and we had almost no notes so it was super awesome. We have begun to try and teach without notes but that is really hard and we struggle with it a lot. However, it really makes us teach a lot simpler which is really good because it helps get the point across better to the investigator so thats super good.
We found out from Hermana Cox last night that tomorrow there are 40 new nortes coming into the CCM and that 12 of them are Hermanas!!! Thats twice as many as came in with us which is crazy!!! But it will be so good and we are super excited! The last 2 days have been hard because we had to say good bye to a lot of our friends, especially our Latinas who were just the sweetest and helped us so much to learn and speak the language. Those goodbyes were the hardest because they were goodbyes for life. We only got to know them for 2 weeks but in those 2 weeks I feel that we have made life long friendships!
The CCM is such a unique experience and I love it so much. The Spirit is so strong here and we are always learning something new. My maestros (teachers) are seriously the best and they have been so patient and loving with us and it is amazing. I love my companion Hermana Traveller, she is so amazing and she is picking up the language so well!!! We are really finding it helpful to make companionship goals so that we can improve and be better.
I don't really have much else to say this week... sorry... But the Church is true. It has changed my life and made me a better person and now it is making me a better missionary. I know that the Church is true and that as we turn unto the Lord and do all that He needs us to do that we will be blessed and He will help us through all things.
This mission is literally the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But it has also made me the happiest I have ever been as I have been in the service of the Lord. And because of that I know that what I am doing is correct. I know that with the Lord on my side I can do amazing things and I hope that as I begin to gain a understanding of this language and am able to speak it that the Lord will mold me into the person and the missionary that He needs to bring others unto him.
I love all of you and I am so thankful for all of your prayers and letters. It makes me so happy to hear about all of your lives and to know that you are all doing well. I love this gospel with all my heart and I am so happy.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
So this week has literally been one of the hardest and greatest weeks (semanas) of my life. First off, I arrived in Guatemala at in the morning on Wednesday and we were all exhausted but so excited. And flying into Guatemala was amazing. It is a beautiful country and I love it so much already. We didn´t really do much the first day because we got here so early and were so tired so basically we just met everyone and had some classes and instruction on what to do. But I arrived with a group of about 30 elders and hermanas to the CCM (Spanish abbrievation for MTC) and we all met up in LAX which was super comfoting. Of that group about 11 of us our going to the Guatemala Central Mission and the rest are serving on other countries in Central America like Belize, El Salvador and Nicaurga I think... But my district is made up of 13 people, 11 elderes and 2 hermanas (me and my compañera) and 4 of us are going to Guatemala Central. We have been struggling with the language a lot. I lot of what I learned in high school spanish is coming back to me but I still feel like I know nothing. And when we talk to the Latinas we almost never know what they are saying which is hard. But we have learned a lot of Spanish from them by just speaking with them as much as possible and they are so nice about it. But in our district we have a really strong desire to be able to preach the gospel and we just want to be able to actually communicate so its so hard that we can't. We have one investigator so far! His name is Rodrigo and we have taught him 3 lessons and he is so ready and willing to accept the gospel. He has a baptism date of ! And we are teaching him as much as we can with our limited and poor Spanish but it has been so good. And last night we taugh almost the entire lesson without notes which was awesome. But I felt like I talked way to much because my compañera is not super comfortable with the language yet. And speaking of my compañera her name is Hermana Traveller and she is from Idaho. She is amazing and I love being able to work with her. And she is picking up the language so well. Like last night she had to say a prayer unexpectedly in Spanish and the Hermana devotional that we have every night and she did such a good job. So I am starting to figure out why the boys lost their English writing so quickly. After only 6 days I already almost always am writing in Spanlish which is good for learning the language but not trying to record all that I learn. So in my journal there are a lot of crossed out words so that I could actually write them in English. The Spirit here in the CMM is so strong and so real. It is truly amazing. Last night we had an amazing night with our district. One of our Elders, Elder Andrew, got 2 bloody noses yesterday and so he was feeling super bad and weak. And we were all in class preparing to teach Rodrigo lessons but the Elders in our district asked Elder Andrew if he wanted a blessing and then all of these 18 and 19 year old boys who had never given a blessing before stepped in and gave one of the most amazing blessings that I have ever heard. And the Spirit was just so so so strong. It was absolutely amazing and it testified to me of the power and blessings of the Priesthood in our lives. And this morning we got to go to the Guatemala City Temple and do a session in English! It was awesome! And I felt the Spirit so strongly. here was a rough day for all the Hermanas that came into the CMM last week. All 6 of us nortes (Americans) that came in were super homesick and during Relief Society we just like all lost it but everyone here was just so nice and they all just hugged and loved us so much. And then we had a bunch of other meetings throughout the day and a lot of them were centered around Chirst's Atonement and it was exactly what I needed to here. We watched a devotional by President Holland about the Atonement and in it it said 'Missionary work is not easy because salvation is not cheap'. And its not easy. It's not easy to leave everything behind and to learn a new language but through Christ all things are possible. He knows all that we are feeling and he knows how to help us and he will help us in all things. And after that I just had a renewed strength that this mission is where I need to be and that the people of Guatemala are waiting for me to bring them the Gospel!
So a little more about the CCM. The food here is amazing. But Latinos get super offended if you don't eat everything so almost every single meal we have to ask for small portions because we just can't eat that much. Also they make a lot of foods that are super familiar to us nortes but every once in awhile we eat things that are more native to Guatemala and it is all so good! The CMM has about 200 missionaries in it. It's about half and half nortes and latinos but there are only about 40 hermanas here so lots more Elders. But we are all so happy to be here and so ready to do the work of the Lord. The CMM is completely fenced in and there are guards that walk around outside all the time. It is all one building that has our living quarters, classes, cafeteria and we have a little yard that is made up of like 2 basketball courts where we get to play basketball and volleyball for about 45 minutes a day. And we love that time outside. It is amazing. It rains here a least once a day. It has every single day that we have been here but it is such a nice rain and it just rains for like an hour and then it stops and the sun comes back out.
I am loving everything that I am doing and I am just trying to lose myself in the Lord. It is so easy to do. The people here are amazing and they are so ready to hear the Gospel and I get to be the one that brings it to them which is amazing. And I hope that I will be able to learn the language quickly and effectively. Missionary work is amazing.
I love you all and am praying for each and everyone of you!
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
I made it to Guatemala early this morning and I am now at the CMM. It has been an experience but it was a good one. When I landed in LAX last night, I met up with a group of 5 other hermanas and about 30 elders. It was crazy but so good to see faces going to the same place. The CMM is relatively small but I think I am going to really like it here. I will have to write more later about what all happens since I haven´t done much yet but so fare Guatemala is BEATUIFUL and I am so excited to be here. When we were landing today I felt the spirit so strongly that this is where I need to be.
Love you all,
Sunday, August 30, 2015
So this is it! In just a few short hours I will be set apart as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The next thing that will be posted on my blog after this will be my first letter from Guatemala. I am extremely excited for this new journey and the opportunities that lay ahead. I know with all my heart that this is the true church of God. And I am so excited to be able to share it with the people of Guatemala. I know that it will be a huge blessing in their lives and I hope that it will be able to change their lives just like it has changed mine. I love each and everyone of you and I am so thankful for your love, support, and prayers as I embark on this next chapter of my life.
As I have prepared to share the gospel with the people of Guatemala over the last few months I have thought a lot about what the gospel means to me and what I am most excited to share with them. And as I have been reading in the Book of Mormon I have really noticed a theme that is repeated many times over and over again and that is central to the gospel. And that is that we can all find hope in the Atonement. And that’s what I want to focus on today.
In True to the Faith it says, “the word hope is sometimes misunderstood. In our everyday language, the word often has a hint of uncertainty. For example, we may say that we hope for a change in the weather or a visit from a friend. In the language of the gospel, however, the word hope is sure, unwavering, and active.” In addition to this Neal A Maxwell said “Our everyday usage of the word hope includes how we “hope” to arrive at a certain destination by a certain time. We “hope” the world economy will improve. We “hope” for the visit of a loved one. Such typify our sincere but proximate hopes. Life’s disappointments often represent the debris of our failed, proximate hopes. Instead, however, I speak of the crucial need for ultimate hope. Ultimate hope is a different matter. It is tied to Jesus and the blessings of the great Atonement, blessings resulting in the universal Resurrection and the precious opportunity provided thereby for us to practice emancipating repentance, making possible what the scriptures call “a perfect brightness of hope”.
This ultimate hope is what allows us as members of the church to look forward to each day. Knowing that we can have a fresh start and that we can always have something to look forward to. When I think of hope and having hope in the future my thoughts immediately turn to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement has become so real to me in the last few years of my life as so many things and changes have occurred. When thinking of this there is a quote from Harry Potter that comes to my mind. In one of the books Albus Dumbledore says “happiness can be found in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Often as we go through life we get so caught up in the mundane things of the world and we find ourselves distracted from our true purpose and distracted from the things of the gospel. We forget to turn on the light of the gospel and soon we find ourselves facing dark times. These dark times often are some of the most trying times of our lives. For me one of these times in my life occurred at the beginning of my senior year. My life was in a little bit of turmoil with lots of changes going on and I was finding it really hard to deal with. But I still remember the day that I felt like I had hit rock bottom. That day I remember falling to my knees and just praying for help. Praying for tomorrow to be just a little better. Praying for even the smallest of all things to help me. In my darkest time I remembered that I had grown up being told that when we have dark times in our lives that we can fall back on the gospel. And so that’s what I began to do and almost immediately I began to see light in my life again. It started with some of the smallest things in the world but as I continued to rely on the Gospel and on the Atonement I felt my life turn around. That’s the amazing thing about this gospel. It is light. It brings happiness during the darkest days of our lives. And because of the Atonement that happiness is everlasting.
In preparation for this talk I was reading an article from the New Era entitled ‘Why is Jesus Christ Important in my life?’ and I was struck by something that it said. It said “Sooner or later, all of us will need the Savior. We all make mistakes we cannot fix, experience losses we cannot recover, and face pains, persecution, tragedies, burdens, and disappointments we cannot handle alone. The good news is that we don’t have to handle them alone. ‘In a moment of weakness we may cry out, ‘No one knows what it is like. No one understands.’ But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens,’ said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice (see Alma 34:14), He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy.”1 When we face serious challenges, sometimes we find it difficult to trust in the Lord. But trusting in Him brings us the hope we need in order to face our challenges.”
Because of the Fall none of us is perfect. But that was part of Heavenly Father’s plan. So eventually we are all going to need the Savior. We all make mistakes. None of us is perfect. And sometimes these mistakes seem like they are too immense, too great for us to handle and we just want to give up. We feel as if no one understand us. But Heavenly Father knew that none of us would be perfect. He knew that we would get down on ourselves. And he knew that as we went through this life we might feel alone at times. So he provide the Savior for us. He allowed for his beloved son to be sacrificed so that when the hard times come. And they will come for each of us. Then when they do we will have someone who we can fall back on. Someone who has felt every single pain, sorrow and frustration of our life. Someone who wants to help us to overcome our challenges. And as we turn to the Savior, Jesus Christ he allows us to feel of his love and he will help us through everything that we are going through. And that knowledge for me is something that helps me get through every day. Whenever life gets hard that’s what I fall back on and it has never let me down.
Along these lines President Boyd K Packer said, “The Savior wrought the Atonement, which provides a way for us to become clean. Jesus Christ is the resurrected Christ. We worship and recognize Him for the pain He suffered for us collectively and for the pain He endured for each of us individually, both in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. He bore all with great humility and with an eternal understanding of His divine role and purpose. Had He not accomplished the Atonement, there would be no redemption. It would be a difficult world to live in if we could never be forgiven for our mistakes, if we could never purify ourselves and move on. The mercy and grace of Jesus Christ are not limited to those who commit sins either of commission or omission, but they encompass the promise of everlasting peace to all who will accept and follow Him and His teachings. His mercy is the mighty healer, even to the wounded innocent. If we are not aware of what the Savior’s sacrifice can do for us, we may go through life carrying regrets that we have done something that was not right or offended someone. The guilt that accompanies mistakes can be washed away. If we seek to understand His Atonement, we will come to a deep reverence for the Lord Jesus Christ, His earthly ministry, and His divine mission as our Savior. A testimony of the hope of redemption is something which cannot be measured or counted. Jesus Christ is the source of that hope. Each member serves as a testimony of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. We are at war with the forces of the adversary, and we need each and every one of us if we are going to succeed in the work the Savior has for us to do.”
I love that he says each member serves as a testimony of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. How amazing is it that we have this knowledge. A knowledge that allows us to be free from the burdens of sin. A knowledge that allows us to find hope in the better days. A knowledge that allows us to look forward to the future. Knowing that with the Lord is on our side we can truly accomplish anything. Jesus Christ will always make up the difference for us after we have done all in our power and still fallen short. And for me it is this knowledge more than anything else that makes me so excited about my mission. I want everyone to obtain this knowledge. And I hope that I will be able to share this message with the people of Guatemala.
I hope that each of us can work to share this knowledge each and every day with those around us. As we live the Gospel each day we are examples to those around us of what it looks like to have a Christ center life. People notice that we are different. They notice that often we seem happier. It is the knowledge of the Gospel that allows us to have this happiness. And it is a knowledge that is so easy to share in simple ways. We can make simple posts on social media, try to be examples to other, and we can serve in any way possible. These are simple ways for each of us to be member missionaries. And we should never be afraid to share the gospel because even though it makes us stand out sometimes as we live the gospel the Lord is on our side. And with the Lord on our side we can truly do anything.
I want to thank everyone in this ward that has helped me to get to where I am today. Especially all of my young women’s leaders. You helped me to learn so much about the gospel and you encouraged me in all that I did. I had no idea that I was going to serve a mission when I was in young women’s but because of the guidance and teachings of my leaders I am ready and able to serve. To all the youth in the ward that are considering going on missions, especially the young women. I encourage you to pray about it and to study it out. The decision to serve or not to serve is between you and the Lord and it truly is a very personal decision. Heavenly Father will help you to know what is right in your life and he will bless you for following the promptings that you receive. And most importantly I want to thank my parents. You guys have helped me to get to where I am today. You have been the greatest examples of how to live the gospel in my life and you have been my best friends. I am so thankful that Heavenly Father put me into your family and that I get to be with you for all time and eternity.
I know that this church is the true church of God restored in its fullness to the Earth. That the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that by reading it daily Heavenly Father will bless us and help us to draw closer to him. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he was called of God to restore this church, the true church of the Lord to the Earth. I know that Thomas S Monson is the prophet today and that he leads the church under the direction of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers and that he will help us in all things. And I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. That he died on the cross for each of us so that we could be made clean and return to live with our Father in Heaven again. I am so thankful for the Gospel in my life and for all that it has done for me and I am so excited for the opportunity that I have to share it with the people of Guatemala.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
This last week I had the amazing opportunity to attend the British Pageant in Nauvoo. Much like the Nauvoo pageant the British Pageant is the story of the early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and other countries in that area of Europe. It is the story of how these people came to a knowledge of the gospel through missionaries. These missionaries traveled far from their homes and families in order to share what they had come to know as the truth. These missionaries went to teach and share a belief in a living Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ who appeared to Joseph Smith when he was young in order to restore the true church to the Earth. Along with this they taught of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon as another testament of Jesus Christ and that the power of the Priesthood had been restored to the Earth again just as it had been on the Earth in the time of Jesus Christ. And as these missionaries shared these beliefs many people joined the Church and continued to grow stronger in their faith and knowledge. Much like these early missionaries I will be leaving my home and family and so many other things behind for a year and a half in just 31 short days so that I may be able to bring the knowledge of the Gospel to the people of Guatemala. It may seem like a strange thing for someone that is only 19 years old to be doing but for me it is exactly what my Heavenly Father needs me to be doing right now. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has truly been the greatest blessing of my life and it has helped me through so many things in my life. I would not be where I am today without it in my life and I will be eternally grateful for Heavenly Father for allowing me to have this knowledge in my life.
Friday, June 19, 2015
So often we think we have life all figured out. We believe that we know what will happen next in our story line but more often then not what ends up coming next is actually a plot twist. That's exactly how my life has always proven to be. But these plot twists always are for the better. They never cease to amaze me as I look back at them and see how I have learned new things and grown as a person. It's amazing how one choice can change our lives forever. And for me I just made one of the biggest decisions of my life. To serve a full time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Just a few weeks ago I received my mission call to serve in the Guatemala Guatemala City Central Mission. I report to the Guatemala Missionary Training Center (MTC) on September 2nd and I could not be more excited about this opportunity. And as part of my preparation and to keep people updated on it and my mission itself I have decided to start this blog. Up until I leave I will be posting things about why and how I made my decision to serve, what a mission really is, and why the Gospel means so much to me. When I leave my mom will be posting weekly updates that I will send via email so that you can follow me in this next chapter of my life.